FAS departments use innovation to produce orientation videos for new students

With COVID-19 (coronavirus) limiting events on campus, FAS departments demonstrated teamwork and innovation in reaching students and their parents during orientation this summer. Parking and Transportation Services (PTS)UT Police Department (UTPD) with Campus Safety, and Information Technology Services (ITS) all transformed presentations that would have been delivered in person into videos.

PTS wanted students to feel like online orientation was as enriching as in-person orientation, and they wanted students to know PTS is a resource for them. Their mission was to help students get to, from and around campus. Even if students are not currently on campus, PTS wanted to equip them with all the information they need for when they are.

 “We wanted to ensure new students got all the same information they would from an in-person presentation,” said PTS Assistant Director Gloria Collins. “This was particularly challenging given our past in-person orientations were 15 to 20 minutes, and we only had four minutes for the video.”

UTPD’s task during orientation was to give an overview of police services and, in partnership with Campus Safety, familiarize students with their emergency communication systems.

 “We utilized a voiced PowerPoint presentation video. I felt just voicing the content kept the viewer’s focus on the information or graphics on the screen,” said Director of Campus Safety Communications Noelle Newton. “For the Family Orientation version, Texas Parents requested we do a Question & Answer segment at the end of the PowerPoint presentation. I felt it would be nice for parents to be able to see the leaders in charge of our campus safety and security programs.”

The intent of UTPD’s video partner, Campus Safety, was to raise awareness about the areas of safety they are responsible for as well as to educate the students on important safety information they need to know such as emergency notifications and definitions of emergency terms.

“There has been a lot of confusion about the difference between Campus Safety and Campus Security, so having a joint presentation does help educate the students about what each department does and the resources we offer,” said Campus Safety Executive Assistant Melissa Moore.

A video format allowed ITS to visually demonstrate online services available to students and what new students could expect in a convenient, easy to digest manner. Timing was their biggest challenge as they worked to ensure their video was ready for the students.

Despite the challenges COVID-19 (coronavirus) has created for campus operations, ITS, PTS, UTPD and Campus Safety demonstrated teamwork to create an innovative way to distribute helpful information during orientation to new students and their parents coming to campus.

View the videos at the following links: